February 26, 2015
In a world where industry is increasingly based on the Internet, rather than in board rooms, many professionals have become “digital nomads” — those who use the wifi and electrical outlets in coffee shops, libraries and set coworking spaces.
This trend is especially popular among tech and creative firms, such as the ones found in Silicon Alley, the large NYC tech area that extends through our neighborhood. Digital NoMads fill our neighborhood — looking for work environments that afford the flexibility and creative experiences to make their businesses flourish.
In addition to allowing for variable scheduling, coworking environments are a source of serendipitous networking opportunities, where workers might find themselves seated on the same couch as a useful contact or new client. The lounge-like atmosphere of many of the coworking environments, such as the lobby of Ace Hotel and the rooftop penthouse at Gansevoort Park Hotel, provide a supply of like-minded people as well as caffeinated and even alcoholic beverages — whatever you need to help you through your day or important meeting.
Earlier this week, TECHINASIA reported on a lifestyle trend that takes coworking to a new level. Author Daniel Tay says, “Lately, there has been an increase in demand for spaces in which, above and beyond just working together, digital nomads can live with each other as well. These new enclaves are dubbed co-living spaces.” Co-living spaces were originally developed in large urban areas like San Francisco as a way to deal with expensive living spaces. Now, there is an increasing appreciation that co-living spaces can fuse the traditional divide of life at home and at work. One French digital nomad, Arthur Itey, has started an international network of coworking houses. “Nomad House” rents spaces by the month for around $500. TECHINASIA reports also that Bruno Haid, founder of Caravanserai, is offering houses in Mexico City, Lisbon and Ubud or $1,600 per month.
Interestingly, Forbes followed up three days later with an article touching on the same digital nomadism trend. The article focused on the benefits for companies who want to access talent and great ideas from a larger community. The idea of fusing the live/work divide came up again: “..these early stages of digital nomadism are showing that people are eager to build a culture where work and play aren’t balanced, but rather fused as one lifestyle.”
While we don’t know of any co-living spaces in NoMad yet, coworking is a perfect extension of the NoMad ethos. NoMad is a district-wide community that extends beyond individual ventures, from coworking offices and the rooftop of the Gansevoort hotel to Neuehouse and Madison Square Park. The seamless transition from home life to work life to nightlife is part of the lifestyle of the neighborhood, as shown by the huge array of residential buildings, bars, clubs and a variety of office spaces. Digital nomadism is the future, and it is part of NoMad’s DNA.